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Your Rights as a Driver if You Hit a Stationary Object

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 23 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Your Rights As A Driver If You Hit A Stationary Object

If you are involved in a road traffic accident that involves a stationary object, it will often be assumed that you are automatically at fault – because you were driving a moving vehicle and the object or car that you hit was still - but is this always the case?

There are lots of accidents including stationary objects every day, most often involving skips, a car being parked in an unusual or dangerous place or unlit road works, and you might find that whoever left the object there may be liable to some extent.

What To Do If The Accident Was Not Your Fault

Whether the stationary object that you hit was in the road itself or at the side of it, if you feel that the collision wasn’t entirely your fault you should make notes and take photographs of the scene and the object in question so that you can provide evidence if the matter is investigated further by the police or by your insurance company.

There are several factors from which it can determined whether or not you are considered to be responsible for the incident. To determine this you will need to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and return to the scene of the bump and consider the following questions:

  • Was the item marked so that it was visible to an approaching driver?
  • If the collision occurred at night was the object lit so that approaching driver could see it clearly and give themselves time to avoid it? In the case of skips there should be flashing lights to indicate where the skip starts and ends, and how far away from the road it is.
  • If the object was not clearly lit or made visible then the owner is responsible. This is usually in the case of parked cars or private skips. If there were roadworks involved, or a hole dug in the road, then whoever is in charge of carrying out the work is responsible and needs to be contacted. You may need to check the item carefully to see if you can figure out who the owners are - a utility company such as gas, electricity or water board, a contractor carrying out work for a private or public company, or perhaps a local authority. Make a note of the owners contact details, or ask around to find out who the obstruction belongs to or is the responsibility of.
  • Once you have this information, set about taking any photographic evidence that you can to prove your point.
  • If the object was unlit or in a dangerous position, make sure you take photographs that illustrate this, and try to include something in the photograph that can indicate scale - for example, a CD.
  • If the object has been left actually on the road in an unsafe position or in a way that contravenes the highway code then the owner of the vehicle or object may be found to be liable for the accident.
  • If there have been any previous accidents or issues caused by the obstruction, then it is likely that this could count as evidence that the object was the reason that the accident took place, or at least was a contributing factor.
  • If possible you should gather any witness who saw the collision and would be willing to say that the object you hit constituted a dangerous obstruction, and that it was not your fault that you could avoid it.

It’s always worth remembering that without proof to the contrary, it is likely that a court or insurance company will believe that it is your fault and will assume either a fault claim or a split fault claim with the owner of the object. So the best tip is for you to collect as much information and evidence from the scene as you can, to corroborate your story.

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hi i was driving on a 30mph road at 30mph. i saw a car infront about 200 yards in front, at the time it looked to be on the road, not parked as it didnt have hazards or indicators on, i looked to my left to a housing estate to see if any cars were approaching when my dad shouted its parked, put your breaks on! i looked at him when he said this to me, i put the breaks on straight away, i managed to just hit the car leaving scratches on their bumper and cracked my licence plate, should i get in touch with my insurance provider first, the only details i have of hers is a mobile number and i know what insurance company she deals with, nothing else, i gave her all of my details and never asked for anything from her, i wasnt thinking with being shocked i suppose! i have pics of the damage to both cars, the non emergency police was called by the other lady, im unsure if i should go to the police station to write a report of it myself! their was a family walking past at the time and heard my car bump hers but didnt witness the actual accident, just looking for advice and what will happen next
emma - 23-Oct-17 @ 3:11 PM
Hi, I was driving through a hospital car park in a swb panel van to visit a sick friend. The car park is run and and owned by a third party. I followed all the signs to the car park that first directed the traffic straight on then "must" turn left (blue circle, white arrow) into a two way road (give way road markings on the road for oncoming traffic). After turning left I noted there were double yellow lines and a hatched yellow area in front of, what appeared to be the entrance to the car park taken to mean "keep this area clear". I then turned left into the apparent entrance but came to an abrupt halt and a loud bang on the passenger door of the van. After inspecting I noted that someone had freshly tarmaced a steel bollard one third the way into the entrance and about a foot into the yellow hatched area that could not be seen from the drivers side of the van. I have dash cam footage (which does not show the bollard in the drivers view) and lots of photographs showing the bollard had in fact been moved three times, each time further into the yellow hatched area evidenced by previous squares of tarmac. This has been reported to my insurance company and they agree the fault is with the car park owners as the signage directs drivers into this road and is clearly marked as a clearway in front of the apparent entrance, nor were there any signs to indicate a "no entry" but in fact clear markings as noted above with the blue circle and white arrow to turn into this road. The car park owners deny any responsibility. Can you advise whose fault this is please?
Adrian - 22-Oct-17 @ 9:01 PM
Next door drives onto drive, but hits paving stones on shared path, whichthat person has been driving in and out for weeks, now that person has driven into them, the person is trying to claim to the damage of the car even though the person has driven into a stationary object
Gravy - 18-Oct-17 @ 9:48 PM
davec - Your Question:
Hi I was driving down the m62 motorway around 6am (still very dark) when I drove over a large object in the middle of the third lane the object created damage to both the front and rear bumpers along with the lights and parking sensors. I called the highway agency who took my details but I'm not sure what I should do now as I have a damaged vehicle. should I claim against my insurance which would cost me both excess and on future payments.Any advice would be very great full thanks

Our Response:
Yes call your insurance company for advice. It's unlikely the Highways agency will be able to compensate you unless the object belonged to them and was left as a result of their negligence.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 13-Oct-17 @ 2:34 PM
Hi I was drivingdown the m62 motorway around 6am (still very dark) when i drove over a large object in the middle of the third lane the object created damage to both the front and rear bumpers along with the lights and parking sensors. i called the highway agency who took my details but I'm not sure what i should do now as i have a damaged vehicle. should i claim against my insurance which would cost me both excess and onfuture payments. Any advice would be very great full thanks
davec - 12-Oct-17 @ 5:30 PM
I was driving along a slightly bendy road, as soon the bend was almost to a end and it was uphill slope (not much but was a slope). Another car came speeding past me and I knew if I stayed put going straight I would have risked my life and anyone else who was there at that time. So I turned slightly left but a parked stationary vehicle was there, more than a foot and a half away from the kerb, with the front tyre 2/3 of it locked out facing the road and my front end clicked onto it, which damaged his tyre to face the opposite was and I ended up losing control and hit the car infront of that parked vehicle which was also parked stationary. As I agree that it may be my fault due to just hitting a stationary parked car, but his car was more than a foot and half away from kerb (pavement) and tyres out towards the road, I damaged the wheel but not the wing or the front bumper, around the tyre. I understand if I hit the front bumper and the wing ALONG with the tyre which means I directly drove into the car BUT it only hit his tyre? The owner was not present while at crash, he came afterwards to find out his car has been hit and I went to him and exchanged details. He says I was speeding and hit his car for careless driving before me explaining what happened as if he was already there. That's his story he explained to the police over phone and to his insurance. If his tyres were straight and atleast a foot or less close to the kerb (pavement), I would have not hit his tyre or car and cause so much damage to another car. The guy speeding past me just continued speeding off. Just tell me if it's my fault for directly hitting his car even parked more than a foot half away from kerb and tyres out (only hit his tyre not anything else) or his for not parking properly and his vehicle is to be unsafe for drivers to go past.
MK - 7-Oct-17 @ 2:37 AM
Hi, My partner was driving a main A-road 60 limit bad weather so with caution. Passing a filter junction, a van driver stopped to allow a car to exit the filter junction, the car hesitated causing the van driver to stay sopped, the car was not even on the junction but halfway down the road so a dangerous manoeuvre anyhow, car following van stopped behind van and released brake so no lights, my partner following at more of a distance and so not aware of vehicles being fully stopped, screeched to a stop not expecting the van & car to be at a standstill on the fast A road, one would expect cars to only stop on the filter lane after all, car in the middle had tow arm so destroyed our car, both middle car and van received the lightest of a barely visible scratch, claims are made against us (she is my named driver), I feel the van driver is at fault. the car exiting the junction speeds off, the van driver has claimed against us. obviously due to being A road in dark no witnesses.Opinion ? Thank you .
Torn - 4-Oct-17 @ 9:48 PM
Torn - Your Question:
Hi, My partner was driving a main A-road 60 limit bad weather so with caution. Passing a filter junction, a van driver stopped to allow a car to exit the filter junction, the car hesitated causing the van driver to stay sopped, the car was not even on the junction but halfway down the road so a dangerous manoeuvre anyhow, car following van stopped behind van and released brake so no lights, my partner following at more of a distance and so not aware of vehicles being fully stopped, screeched to a stop not expecting the van & car to be at a standstill on the fast A road, one would expect cars to only stop on the filter lane after all, car in the middle had tow arm so destroyed our car, both middle car and van received the lightest of a barely visible scratch, claims are made against us (she is my named driver), I feel the van driver is at fault. the car exiting the junction speeds off, the van driver has claimed against us. obviously due to being A road in dark no witnesses. Opinion ? Thank you.

Our Response:
We canot give opinions on individual cases as we do not have both parties' versions of events.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 4-Oct-17 @ 2:51 PM
Hi, My partner was driving a main A-road 60 limit bad weather so with caution. Passing a filter junction, a van driver stopped to allow a car to exit the filter junction, the car hesitated causing the van driver to stay sopped, the car was not even on the junction but halfway down the road so a dangerous manoeuvre anyhow, car following van stopped behind van and released brake so no lights, my partner following at more of a distance and so not aware of vehicles being fully stopped, screeched to a stop not expecting the van & car to be at a standstill on the fast A road, one would expect cars to only stop on the filter lane after all, car in the middle had tow arm so destroyed our car, both middle car and van received the lightest of a barely visible scratch, claims are made against us (she is my named driver), I feel the van driver is at fault. the car exiting the junction speeds off, the van driver has claimed against us. obviously due to being A road in dark no witnesses.Opinion ? Thank you .
Torn - 3-Oct-17 @ 11:27 PM
None - Your Question:
Hi, I tipped over a saw that was in my driveway. Went under my car but didn't damage my car. The saw was left unattended while the workers were working on my neighbors lawn. Am I at fault? The company is trying to get the full amount out of me. I only took pictures of my car and the saw after they took it off my property.

Our Response:
We can't really comment on individual cases like this sorry.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 22-Sep-17 @ 11:47 AM
Hi, I tipped over a saw that was in my driveway. Went under my car but didn't damage my car. The saw was left unattended while the workers were working on my neighbors lawn. Am I at fault? The company is trying to get the full amount out of me. I only took pictures of my car and the saw after they took it off my property.
None - 20-Sep-17 @ 6:42 PM
My Number - Your Question:
Hi there I parked on double yellow lines while my wife was sitting inside passenger seat I went into shop.when I come back I saw one van driver reversing into my car car and hit at driver side front wing over the tyre.bay in mind he hit the car while I driver wasn't even in the car.anyway we exchange the details I got repair cheque from his insurance but his insurance not paying hire cost and would like to challenge into court.so who is at fault? Is the other driver or me? If we end up in court anyone have any experience?thanks

Our Response:
We can give advice on individual fault/blame as we don't have both parties' version of events.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 8-Sep-17 @ 2:03 PM
Hi there I parked on double yellow lines while my wife was sitting inside passenger seat I went into shop.when I come back I saw one van driver reversing into my car car and hit at driver side front wing over the tyre.bay in mind he hit the car while i driver wasn't even in the car.anyway we exchange the details I got repair cheque from his insurance but his insurance not paying hire cost and would like to challenge into court.so who is at fault? Is the other driver or me? If we end up in court anyone have any experience?thanks
My Number - 8-Sep-17 @ 3:13 AM
Mommab - Your Question:
Hi, today I reversed off a parking space to turn at the side of a garage and knocked a stationary motorcycle. The guy had said he put the bike there after I'd parked up. I used my mirrors and could not see the bike. Even after we swapped details and I returned to my vehicle I checked my mirrors again and the bike was not at all visible. if it's impossible for someone to see am I the only one at fault?

Our Response:
We can't comment on situations like this as we don't have all the necessary information or both parties' versions of events.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 5-Sep-17 @ 11:04 AM
Hi, today I reversed off a parking space to turn at the side of a garage and knocked a stationary motorcycle. The guy had said he put the bike there after I'd parked up. I used my mirrors and could not see the bike. Even after we swapped details and I returned to my vehicle I checked my mirrors again and the bike was not at all visible... if it's impossible for someone to see am I the only one at fault?
Mommab - 2-Sep-17 @ 5:55 PM
eddie - Your Question:
Hi there, just needed some advice.I was parked fully on a wide pavement (wide enough for a 4x4 car and buggy to pass very easily) outside my parents house as we had just been shopping and it was most convenient at the time. 10minutes later someone knocked at the door to say that she had reversed into my car. she too was parked on the pavement infront. she had attempted to reverse off the kerb, but accidently hit my bumper.We exchanged details and she was happy to pay so much cash to get the paint work done. however, she has said if its more than the 150 she can afford she would need to go through the insurance. Would the insurance pay out because we were both on a pavement?

Our Response:
Yes usually, depending on the type of insurance cover you have. Give your insurer a call or check your policy documents.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 17-Aug-17 @ 11:22 AM
hi there, just needed some advice. I was parked fully on a wide pavement (wide enough for a 4x4 car and buggy to pass very easily) outside my parents house as we had just been shopping and it was most convenient at the time. 10minutes later someone knocked at the door to say that she had reversed into my car.. she too was parked on the pavement infront. she had attempted to reverse off the kerb, but accidently hit my bumper. We exchanged details and she was happy to pay so much cash to get the paint work done.. however, she has said if its more than the 150 she can afford she would need to go through the insurance. Would the insurance pay out because we were both on a pavement?
eddie - 15-Aug-17 @ 1:23 PM
Tony - Your Question:
Hi, I hit a bollard on hospital grounds - whilst I consider it to be partly my fault as the bollard was stationary - the bollard in question has been hit a number of times, I can tell by the amount of different colours paint on it.there is no raised kerb to protect it or the drivers, The bollards have been put there to protect a created walk way- but there is no path - just bollards in the road.the signage is not clear and what little signage there was - was obstructed by building workThe bollard does not go far into the ground - hence it came out of the ground and overturned my car. My car is a write off :(. The bollard was only one colour with reflective tape around itMy concern is that these bollards could cause someone a serious accident. I was fine but the next person may not be.Also the hospital or trust - wished to claim from my insurance company for their bollard !!Any advice please?

Our Response:
This is one for a lawyer really, sorry!
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 9-Aug-17 @ 2:21 PM
Hi, I hit a bollard on hospital grounds - whilst I consider it to be partly my fault as the bollard was stationary - the bollard in question has been hit a number of times, I can tell by the amount of different colours paint on it. there is no raised kerb to protect it or the drivers, The bollards have been put there to protect a created walk way- but there is no path - just bollards in the road. the signage is not clear and what little signage there was - was obstructed by building work The bollard does not go far into the ground - hence it came out of the ground and overturned my car. My car is a write off :(. The bollard was only one colour with reflective tape around it My concern is that these bollards could cause someone a serious accident. I was fine but the next person may not be. Also the hospital or trust - wished to claim frommy insurance company for their bollard !! Any advice please?
Tony - 8-Aug-17 @ 10:28 AM
Jack- Your Question:
I hit a lorry tyre on a main road which went under the vehicle in a thunderstorm so could not see it till the last minute. Who is at fault. I was in a company vehicle and they trying to charge my for damage.

Our Response:
We can't give advice on individual "at fault" questions here sorry.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 8-Aug-17 @ 10:05 AM
I hit a lorry tyre on a main road which went under the vehicle in a thunderstorm so could not see it till the last minute. Who is at fault. I was in a company vehicle and they trying to charge my for damage.
Jack - 5-Aug-17 @ 12:40 AM
I returned to my house turned onto my drive to come face to face with a skip parked on the drive that I did not request but had been left on my drive by the skip company.I turned to miss the skip head on but have damaged the passenger side when I hit the wall.Where do I stand.The skip company say that my post code was where they had to deliver it.
ohbejoyfull - 7-Jul-17 @ 5:31 PM
Maz - Your Question:
I reversed out of my driveway and a motorbike was parked in my turning space I knocked it over causing damage to my car who is liable?

Our Response:
You don't have a right to cause criminal damage to someone else's property. You should have asked the owner to remove it or requesting assistance from the police.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 26-Jun-17 @ 2:37 PM
I was coming out of a single drive owned by a company called jpg electronics in chesterfield and I was turning left(imagine like a t junction) but a car was parked and was sticking about half a metre into the single drive and was also parked on white diagonal lines so as I turned left I scuffed the rear bumper as I couldn't get a decent enough turning circle. I know I hit the car but the car was obstructing the way? I do have a photo if i could somehow show you?
Will - 24-Jun-17 @ 2:58 PM
I reversed out of my driveway and a motorbike was parked in my turning space i knocked it over causing damage to my car who is liable?
Maz - 23-Jun-17 @ 9:29 PM
Pulling out of space in tesco.i have gone into the trolly barrier. The barrier was already down causing it to be out of sight. I checked all the other trolley holding areas and many where also knocked down one even missing with just a cone there the others had hazard tape on them but mine has not. Cleary all level of experienced drivers have done this. Should the bsrrier have been fixed? Of height for drivers to see? Or am i at total fault?
GH - 7-Jun-17 @ 9:00 PM
Chrisy - Your Question:
Hi Friday on my way home a car was parked on double yellow lines and hanging over half of the entrance to my street I had to stop to let another car through so I could get in my street while pulling into the street I just scuffed the front bumper of the over hanging car I pulled onto my drive put the kids in the house went to go and see the person who owned it when I was already met by him in the street saying I was driving erratically blah blah blah. How I could be driving erratically when I had to stop to let someone out before I could move to get in I don't know? Anyway I said I'll go and take some pics of how you where parked and let the insurance decide when we got back to the car he had got his son to move it a little so that it wasn't so badly parked but still shockingly parked on double yellows never the less. Where do I stand on this is it my fault or is he partly to blame? Any help would be great cheers.

Our Response:
We can't give advice on individual liability unfortunately as we only have one party's version of events.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 6-Jun-17 @ 2:30 PM
Dodo - Your Question:
I need help. I don't know what to do. I saw a parking space on where people park their car on the kerb. In front of the kerb, is a street pole as I was trying to go on the kerb to make my car straight- I don't know what happen, few seconds later the left side of the car mainly the bumper section hit the pole. The pole it self bent around 45 degrees and the bumper is in bad shape. The car I have, is a rental car where I use the car for 3 years and then I can exchange the car for another or I can keep it. I have been driving for almost 3 years and this is the first time this have happen to me. I want to know should I contact the police or my insurance company

Our Response:
You should contact the police and local council in case this highway property. Your insurer will need to know, as will the lease company that your car belongs to.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 6-Jun-17 @ 12:58 PM
Hi Friday on my way home a car was parked on double yellow lines and hanging over half of the entrance to my street I had to stop to let another car through so I could get in my street while pulling into the street I just scuffed the front bumper of the over hanging car I pulled onto my drive put the kids in the house went to go and see the person who owned it when I was already met by him in the street saying I was driving erratically blah blah blah. How I could be driving erratically when I had to stop to let someone out before I could move to get in I don't know? Anyway I said I'll go and take some pics of how you where parked and let the insurance decide when we got back to the car he had got his son to move it a little so that it wasn't so badly parked but still shockingly parked on double yellows never the less. Where do I stand on this is it my fault or is he partly to blame? Any help would be great cheers.
Chrisy - 4-Jun-17 @ 3:50 PM
I need help . I don't know what to do. I saw a parking space on where people park their car on the kerb. In front of the kerb, is a street pole as I was trying to go on the kerb to make my car straight- i don't know what happen, few seconds later the left side of the car mainly the bumper section hit the pole. The pole it self bent around 45 degrees and the bumper is in bad shape. The car I have, is a rental car where I use the car for 3 years and then I can exchange the car for another or I can keep it.I have been driving for almost 3 years and this is the first time this have happen to me. I want to know should I contact the police or my insurance company
Dodo - 3-Jun-17 @ 9:16 PM
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